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The Clan MacKinnon is one of the Siol Alpin family (see Appendix I) and is among Scotland's most ancient clans. Its associations have always been Hebridean.

The clan counts King Alpin as its founder, and its slogan or war-cry is 'Cuimhnich bas Alpein', meaning 'Remember the death of Alpin', who was beheaded in 841, in memory of which the MacKinnon chiefs have a second crest showing a severed head crowned with an antique crown.

It was Alpin's great-grandson Findanus, the 4th MacKinnon chief, who gave the chiefs their Gaelic patronymic of MacFhionghuin, sons of Fingon of Findanus, which is now the clan surname. It was Findanus too who brought Dunakin into the clan around the year 900 by marrying a Norse princess nicknamed 'Saucy Mary'. The castle, Dun Haakon, was an old broch or fortress commanding the narrow sound between Skye and the mainland, through which all ships had to pass or else attempt the stormy passage of the Minch. Findanus and his bride ran a heavy chain across the sound and levied a toll on all shipping passing up and down!

The Princess lies buried on Beinn-Caillaich in Skye, her face reputedly turned towards Norway. It was in the shadow of Dunakin that King Haakon IV's war galleys mustered in 1263 before the Battle of Largs, at which their power was finally broken in Scotland.

Findanus, however, had his lands in Mull, and there were MacKinnons in Arran too who gave shelter to Robert Bruce. The clan did not receive its great Skye estate until after Bannockburn when Bruce rewarded them with it. It stretches from Kyleakin up to Broadford and then runs across Skye to Elgol and includes the islands of Pabay and Scalpay.

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